Robots Invade Retail

I’ve stolen that title from the article I want you to read.  It’s of particular interest to me because I live in the Northwest.  More precisely, in Bellevue across the lake from Seattle.  As an aside, the really good thing about living in the great state of Washington (regardless of your political affiliation) during this presidential election is that everybody knows the state will go for Clinton, so we are not being bombarded with Trump and Clinton ads that insult our intelligence.

Especially in the western part of the state, we are pretty liberal.  Over in Seattle, they’ve passed legislation that will gradually raise the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour and they are working on, or have just passed, legislation that will give workers certain rights in how they are scheduled.

Good for the people who will be the direct beneficiaries.  But when you tamper with complex systems, there are always unintended consequences.  I’ve mentioned some of those potential consequences in previous articles.  One of them is increased motivation for employers to utilize automation rather than hire people.

I’d been thinking about writing something on the subject, but I’m perfectly happy to dodge that task by relying instead on Inside Outdoor Magazine’s article called, “Robots Invade Retail.

One issue they don’t discuss is the impact of robots and robotics on the layout and composition of brick and mortar stores.  You’ll learn, when you read the article, that we’re moving towards a robot that knows where everything is in the store, can take you to it, can order it if they don’t have it, and has access to the retailer’s entire inventory wherever it is.  I expect this to have an impact on the layout of brick and mortar stores, how big they need to be, and the amount of inventory they have to carry.  The internet, of course, if already impacting all those areas but I expect retail robots, in whatever form they take, to push them forward.

Enjoy the article. I’d very much like to hear comments on it.